Play-Full Math

Apologies in advance for starting my first blog ever with a downer, but I didn’t get to play much as a kid. I say this not for sympathy. (Thanks, but no thanks on that!) Instead, I want to illuminate why play has become so important to me. Actually, I had no idea what I had missed until my early 30s when my bff would do all kinds of fun traditions with her children (so you carve pumpkins together EVERY Halloween…weird?!?) I just didn’t experience those things, and neither did anyone around me, really, so it seemed normal. Now, as I’ve learned how fun life as child CAN be if the adults make it a priority, I am awakened to a fiery sense of urgency to get kids PLAYING!!

My current life mission (FYI-I’m a complex woman who experiences seasons of purpose) is to make math class every kid’s favorite time of the day. An inordinate amount of my time is spent researching, pondering, exploring, collaborating (shout out #iteachmath & #MTBos) and experimenting with ways to lower the floor and bust through the ceiling in play-full math classes. I’m obsessed with creating joy, laughter and warm memories of in-depth explorations with equations, shapes, patterns, graphs, conjectures, arguments and counterarguments, and most importantly, connections, in the rooms for which I have been blessed with stewardship.

The most amazing part of being teacher is that I receive more joy than I have the capacity to give. I watch my kiddos’ (and even some adults’) eyes light up as they understand something deeply for the first time! I get to witness the “creatives”, who, in general, normally disengage in traditional math class, dive headfirst into rigorous tasks in completely different ways than many of us would ever imagine. Because the tasks are open as possible, they feel proud to share their divergent thinking with the class because, well, someone asked them to do so!! If math truly is power and not punishment, then my greatest career accomplishment thus far has been all the power I’m privileged to GIVE AWAY everyday!! And, I get back exponentially more than I could ever give! Funny how that works.

Despite what may have been a challenging start, my life is incredible and I am grateful to be wonderfully well, even on the tough days. My heart’s greatest desire is to be in a lifelong, reciprocal relationship with teaching and learning. So far, I’m living the dream.

Thanks for taking time you can’t ever get back to read my ramblings!!

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12 thoughts on “Play-Full Math

  1. This is so great to read. I think your own experiences certainly give you more perspective as to what you want out of math class.

    I love hearing your voice in you writing and look forward to what comes next. Great job Lybrya.

    Liked by 1 person

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